Separate your Streams to Maximize Sustainability: Q+A with Cameron Funk

Q&A with Cam Funk, CheckSammy’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Cam recently contributed to the Green Sports Alliance newest playbook, Building For the Future, which gives actionable steps to ensure facilities maximize both their diversion capabilities as well as their return on investment. Cam sat down with us to talk about some of the key principles of the Playbook, which apply to all types of facilities.  

What are the main obstacles faced by Facility Executives seeking to divert materials away from landfills? 

The primary challenge is commingled waste – but it also presents the greatest opportunity, too. By separating waste streams at the source, you can achieve more precise diversion to the most suitable destination for each material.  

Do you have any advice for companies that are constructing new facilities to maximize landfill diversion?  

In the playbook, we emphasize the importance of forward-looking design. Building facilities  based on the current state of recycling leads to obsolescence. It’s crucial to create flexible spaces that can adapt to advancing waste and recycling technologies. Allot enough space to be flexible when new technologies and streams come online.  

Any other tips for forward-looking Facilities Executives?  

Yes! With the way that technology is driving advancements in recycling capabilities, it’s a great idea to develop your lines of communication with recyclers in your city, country and/or state. There have been a number of recent advances in plastics and textile recycling capabilities that didn’t exist just two years ago. Having established lines of communication with those facilities ensures that you’ll be the first to find out about the next advances. At CheckSammy, we firmly believe in local solutions and invest significant effort in minimizing transportation distances between the source and destination, as having more options typically means shorter distances. We’ve developed relationships with more than 25,000 recycling and reverse logsitics facilities across North America, and we cultivate those relationships to stay on the cutting edge of sustainability tech.  

While sustainability is essential, businesses must also focus on profitability to remain viable. How do you recommend striking a balance between the two? 

This is an excellent question, and I’m delighted to address it. Contrary to a zero-sum perspective, sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive. At CheckSammy, we’ve experienced that with rising tipping fees and increased commodity values, such as plastics, textiles, and metals, recycling can be financially advantageous, especially on a larger scale.  

My key point nowadays is that advancements in technology and the rise in tipping costs have made sustainable solutions more economically viable. Considering the value of recyclable commodities like plastics, textiles, metals, and cardboard further enhances the financial benefits of adopting sustainability practices. 

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